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Applemen hope for best after loss to 'Dogs

November 01, 2008|By JOHN O'BRIEN

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Musselman's football team will have to wait another week to find out if it will be taking part in the West Virginia Class AAA playoffs.

The Applemen, ranked 15th in the state, fell Friday night to 10th-ranked Martinsburg 36-7 and missed a chance to erase any doubts they had about finishing in the top 16.

Musselman, which scheduled its bye on the last week of the season, finished the regular season 6-4 and will have another week of practice even though its season might be over.

"Right now, we're going to go in the locker room and regroup," Applemen coach Denny Price said as he walked off Cobourn Field. "We'll worry about it next week."

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Ryan Rowland rushed for three touchdowns as he and quarterback Kam Puller again matched each other with 100-yard games. Puller added 105 passing yards and a touchdown, as well as a rushing touchdown.

Their performances, as well as four Musselman turnovers, helped Martinsburg coach David Walker earn his 110th win at the school, tying John Cobourn's school record and giving the Bulldogs a 7-2 record.

"We knew they were going to try to keep the ball away from us," said Walker, who won only one game his first season at Martinsburg before turning the program around. "It was important that every time we had the ball we got it in the end zone."

The Bulldogs did that immediately, moving 72 yards on the game's first drive. Puller gained 57 yards on the ground before Rowland capped the drive with a 3-yard run more than five minutes into the first quarter.

Musselman put together a drive of its own but fumbled in Bulldogs territory.

Punter Casey Cochran's attempt at running for a first down on a fake punt lost 14 yards in the second quarter, giving the Bulldogs the ball on Musselman's 23-yard line. Rowland scored on the next play with 6:31 left.

Musselman stalled on its first drive of the second half, and the Bulldogs went 64 yards for their next touchdown. Rowland scored from a yard out on a fourth-down play to make it 21-0.

Later, an interception by Jon Arndt set up Puller's 1-yard TD run, also on a fourth down. A 2-point conversion pass from Brett Rogers to Darren Arndt made it 29-0 with less than a minute left in the third quarter.

Cochran put Musselman on the board with a 4-yard run with 10:42 left, but Puller finished the scoring by finding Derek Walker for a 7-yard touchdown six minutes later.

Puller rushed 25 times for 120 yards, while Rowland gained 104 on 12 carries. Puller also completed 6 of 9 passes.

Jared Weatherholtz picked up 67 yards on 13 carries for the Applemen. Cochran had 29 yards rushing, and Jesse Hanes had 35 yards rushing and a fumble recovery on defense.

Musselman actually picked up more first downs than Martinsburg, 15-14. Price said mental mistakes like penalties and fumbles cost the Applemen.

"They're physical. They play hard," Walker said of the Applemen. "They've had this game highlighted on their schedule all year, so we knew they would give us a good game."

Walker will have a chance to pass Cobourn next week against Eastern View of Culpepper, Va., a team that has Walker worried. A win would improve Martinsburg's chances of moving into the top eight and hosting a first-round playoff game.

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